By now, many are aware that Donald Trump met with incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer today in the White House. The purpose of the on-camera “meeting” (really a clumsily executed attempt at a political ambush by Trump) was to “discuss" funding for Trump's fantasy border "wall."
Armed with notecard props and pre-arranged talking points, Trump essentially told Nancy Pelosi, over and over again, that he had enough votes in the House to pass legislation to fund his “wall," and Speaker Pelosi told Trump, over and over again, that if he thought he had the votes he should just go ahead and hold the vote. The meeting accomplished nothing substantive, with Trump ending up huffing that he would be “proud to shut down the government” if the Democrats refused to play along.
But the fact that nothing was accomplished here should not detract from the classic demonstration Trump provided of a phenomenon that permeates every level of our society, from interpersonal relationships to corporate boardrooms, whenever a woman deigns to speak about a subject with authority to an audience of men.
The video of the entire meeting is below. Compare the way Trump speaks to Pelosi to the way he speaks to Schumer. The relevant portion starts at the 5:32 mark, when Trump invites “Nancy” to say something. Over the next three minutes, beginning at the 5:55 mark, Trump proceeds to interrupt her ten, possibly eleven times.
Then, at the 8:35 mark, Trump turns to Schumer and invites him to speak. Schumer speaks without interruption for a full minute. Trump tries to interrupt Schumer at the 9:25 mark, but Schumer talks over him and Trump backs down. Trump again interrupts Schumer, who raises his voice, and Trump then (at 9:50) asks if he can tell Schumer something.
Pelosi then speaks for about ten seconds, and Trump interrupts her again. Schumer then speaks up, Trump tries to interrupt him and Schumer says “let's debate in private.” Trump nods. Pelosi speaks up one more time and Trump interrupts her again. At this point we’re at the 10:55 mark. Then a reporter asks a question, to which both Pelosi and Schumer reply. Trump then interrupts Pelosi four times in less than a minute—at the 11:35 and 11:48 mark, and again, at the 12:12 mark and 12:25 mark.
At that point Trump speaks for a while to reporters, Pelosi speaks for a while to reporters, and Trump gets into a somewhat heated exchange, losing his temper with Schumer and declaring that he would be “proud to shut down the government.” Interview over.
Final count: Trump interrupts Pelosi 16 times, talking over her each time.
Trump interrupts Schumer maybe three or four times, stopping short each time and letting Schumer resume speaking.
There’s more going on here than just Trump’s well-established disdain for women. Trump is actually providing a textbook, teachable moment here on how women, when they speak, are routinely interrupted by men.